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This post was inspired by Derek Sivers. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung. What do they all have in common? They all have your data.
In this age of the internet, there are an ever increasing amount of companies asking you for permission to access your camera, location, microphone, contacts, notes and so much more of your private data. Yeah, they might have really good privacy and encryption policies, but you still are dependent on them for your data.
Take for example, Google Photos. It promises to save an unlimited amount of photos in exchange for nothing. Seems great for a free cloud storage option when you don’t have enough storage. But what happens if your Google Account gets hacked and the hacker steals all of your data? What happens if you merge your personal and business accounts which lead to a factory reset of all data stored in Google’s cloud? That was exactly what happened to a friend of Derek Sivers. He had lost all the photos of his child from age 0 to 9 because he merged his personal and business accounts. When he contacted google support, they simply said that they can’t do anything about it since it was already stated that all data would be wiped clean. That is tragic.
Another example is your note-taking application. Let’s say that you start a journal and take notes about the content that you consume in a resonance calendar. However, these notes are only available in the application Notion. Would Notion be around in the next 30 or even 5 years when you want to reflect on your journal? Probably not. And if you want to transfer all your notes, they would be in a weird format that would take a lot of time to update to more portable formats such as plain text file or HTML.
Another example is this blog. Would WordPress still be available 50 years from now. No. But what about your own static HTML website coded by hand. Yes. This is an approach that I will be implementing and you might observe some changes to this blog in a couple of weeks.
So what do we do? We are all sucked into this ecosystem of applications ruled by big corporations who we depend on for our own personal data. The first step is to transfer your files into slowly more portable and easy to view file formats. For example, copy your journal from Notion into a plain text file, transfer your photos into a hard drive while also using a safe and secure cloud server (preferably your own) and reduce your reliance on certain applications that can be done using analog measures.
These are some basic ways to combat this issue. However Derek Sivers has some more advice on Tech Independence and the stuff that he would teach if he were to conduct a class about it. He would teach how to…
get your own domain name
host your own contacts, calendars, photos, media and other files on your server which you can buy for $5 a month
get rid of gmail and use email@example.com for your email
Switch between cheap iOS and Android phones every 2 weeks to ensure that you are not dependent
These steps are certainly what I am striving towards and it would also be fun to learn how to set-up my own server and stuff. It can also be a great way to learn how to code using different programming languages.
Hopefully, this post can help you to realise the importance of tech independence.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (Yes.. The irony) or tweet me @sharvenium on twitter.